The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday refused to grant interim protection to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a criminal defamation case against him for his remark about the Modi surname, reported Bar and Bench.
Gandhi had moved the High Court on April 15 seeking a stay on the conviction order in the defamation case.
On Tuesday, as Justice Hemant Prachchhak said that he will pronounce the verdict on the stay application after the summer vacation of the High Court, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Gandhi, urged the judge to grant interim protection for the mean time.
However, the High Court said that it will use the vacation time to write the order. The vacation begins on May 5 and the court will reopen on June 5.
Meanwhile, Prachchhak ordered the trial court to present the original record and proceedings of the case.
This was after at the last hearing on April 29 before the High Court, Singhvi had said that the trial process against Gandhi had “very serious vitiating factors”, which led to his conviction. He had also argued that the complaint against Gandhi is not maintainable since the politician did not take the name of Purnesh Modi.
The case against Gandhi was filed by the Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Surat West MLA Purnesh Modi against the politician’s comments at a rally in Karnataka’s Kolar ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“Why all the thieves, be it Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi or Narendra Modi, have Modi in their names?” the 52-year-old Congress leader had asked.
Nirav Modi is a fugitive businessman accused in the Punjab National Bank scam while Lalit Modi is a former Indian Premier League chief who has been banned for life by the cricket governing body.
Purnesh Modi claimed that Gandhi had defamed 13 crore people living in the whole of India having the surname Modi.
On March 23, a court in Gujarat sentenced Gandhi to two years’ imprisonment for the remarks. This had led to his disqualification from the Lok Sabha a day later.
Following this, Gandhi had moved a sessions court in Surat but it dismissed his plea challenging the conviction. Additional Sessions Judge Robin Mogera had said that as an MP and a former president of the country’s second-largest political party, he should have been more careful with his words.